Most transport planners have a degree, although others enter the profession directly from school and obtain the necessary skills through an apprenticeship, a degree or a  combination of experience, short courses and private study.

Although there are first degrees in transport related subjects,  they are generally concerned with the management of transport operations, logistics and the supply chain, and of limited direct benefit to anyone seeking a career in transport planning.  However, there are some first degrees that offer transport as a second discipline, such as Geography with Transport Planning, and transport planning might be an option on some Civil Engineering degree courses. 

But most transport planners have a first degree in which transport planning did not feature. They come with a wide range of disciplines, geography, economics, civil engineering, environmental studies, social science, operations research, and even music and theology.  What is crucial is that they

  • are good written and oral communicators
  • are able to work easily and accurately with numbers
  • enjoy analysis, wanting to understand 'why?'
  • enjoy joining up ideas for improvement across disciplines
  • work well with others, including people with different values, and
  • want to make a difference to the world they live in

The only degrees providing an education focussed on transport planning are Masters, and a good proportion of transport planners have a transport Masters.  Some choose to study for a Masters full time, either before finding a job as a transport planner, or as a break in their work-based career.  But most UK students study part time, very many with financial support from their employer.

Although transport related Masters courses go by a variety of titles, such as Transport with Business Management , Transport Engineering and Operations, or Transport and the Environment, they include much of direct relevance to transport planning, and this depends on the options chosen.   A list of transport Masters degrees with a substantial transport planning content can be found here. 

When considering a transport Masters coupled with a career in transport planning it is best to choose a Masters course that is recognised by the Professional Standards Committee for the Transport Planning Professional (TPP) qualification, as having an approved Masters enables candidates to miss a step in the TPP award process - the Portfolio of Technical Knowledge (PTK). These are indicated in the TPS list above. 


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